Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

Most people may think that with the onset of colder temperatures, the golf season around Grand Lake is coming to an end.

Those people would be non-golfers.

Real golfers will do anything to keep playing during the winter months, no matter how many sweaters, hats and gloves it takes.

Local golfer Sam Fairchild has taken things a bit further. Fairchild recently had a putting and chipping green installed in his backyard, giving him and his family a chance to sharpen their short games no matter the weather.

“We did it mostly for outdoor entertainment and for kids,” Fairchild said. “It also adds value to the home.”

There may be many people who think that spending over $3,000 on a backyard practice green is a little much, but golf runs in the blood of the Fairchild family.

Sam, who has been playing for over five years, was formerly the head golf coach at Grove High School from 2004-2006, as well as the basketball coach for the 2000-2001 season. He still teaches at Grove, as well as running a carpet cleaning business and Maximum Fitness in Jay.

His son Trae is fast making a name for himself on the GHS golf team. Now a sophomore, Trae helped lead the Ridgerunners to a state tournament berth last Spring.

“Trae likes to practice,” Sam said. “If you love to practice, you’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”

Steve Mann of Yard Mann Services installed the green, which is approximately 20 feet by 15 feet.

“I went with him because he has a good reputation,” Sam said. “He goes beyond what is called for.”

The entire project took about three days to complete.

“It was pretty inexpensive as far as a home improvement project goes.”

And who is the master of the short game in the Fairchild household?

“Me and Trae just had a chipping contest last night,” Sam noted. “He usually wins, but I won that one.”